Title & Author: Fair, Bright, and Terrible (Welsh Blades, Book 2), Elizabeth Kingston
Genre & Publication Date: Historical Romance, January 25th, 2017
Book Description: Minor Spoilers in this description. Read at own risk: “Wales is conquered, and Eluned has lost everything: her country, her husband, her hope. All that remains is vengeance, and she will stop at nothing to have it. Certain there is no trace within her of the idealistic girl who loved Robert de Lascaux a lifetime ago, she agrees to marry him to advance the fortunes of her son, to avoid the nunnery, and most importantly – as an easy way to gain access to the man upon whom she will avenge Wales.
When Robert is asked to marry the woman he has loved for eighteen years, he never hesitates. But the lady who greets him at the altar has so little in common with the girl he adored that he begins to doubt that there is anything left of her bold and passionate younger self. Marriage to her might gain him the fortune and status his family has always wanted, but no wealth has ever mattered to him as much as Eluned has. And she, it seems, does not want him at all.
Trapped in a web of intrigue, revenge, and desire, they cannot forget their past – but can they share a future? The fascinating world of medieval Wales is continued in this riveting companion novel to The King’s Man.”
First Line: It all ended in cold flesh.
My Take: This book was provided to me by the author for review.
This novel is the sequel to “The King’s Man” which I’ve reviewed and loved (Read it!!). Book Two follows Eluned, the mother of book one’s heroine. When we met her in “The King’s Man” she was frighteningly ambitious, wickedly clever, and painfully jaded. “Fair, Bright, and Terrible” picks up this thread without missing a beat. I don’t want to give too much away as far as plot because this is a sequel, but I really enjoyed it. Twists and turns in the political landscape with a relationship at its center, it had everything you’re looking for in a historical romance.
Robert is a new character whom we didn’t meet in book one, but I liked him a lot. Open-hearted and hopeful, he was Eluned’s opposite. When they were young they’d had a passionate affair, one that ended because of circumstance rather than sentiment. Robert went on to idolize their time together, never realizing how much the years would change Eluned from the loving and quick witted girl she’d once been. When they’re reunited, he’s happy to find her intelligence as keen as ever (something he’d always admired, bless him) but she’d lost all of her former softness. Poor guy gets hit with disappointment over and over on this score as Eluned tries to hang on to her hard outer shell. Sometimes she made me crazy with this, even though I understood it.
Here’s the thing I found incredibly beautiful in this novel–it’s about how love with the right person can change us for the better. There are so many stories of how a relationship can ruin a life or shatter someone’s ability to trust. These happen, in real life and in fiction, but love isn’t all sorrow. It also isn’t a panacea, I know. It takes effort, a willingness to see yourself and your own faults, and the courage to change. Because vulnerability is courage, not weakness. It’s the path back to joy and to each other.
The Magical: Something awesome about this author: She doesn’t just coast to the end when we get to the 85/90% mark. More happens, one last exciting crescendo. Man, I love that and it’s something that makes this author’s work an auto-buy for me.
The Mundane: I think I mentioned this but Eluned’s constantly closing herself off no matter what got to me at times. I understood she did it instinctively since she’d had to do it all her life just to survive, but since this is what kept her and Robert apart I wanted to yell at her sometimes.
Summary of Thoughts: An absolute gem of a book for the genre, I highly recommend this one! Currently it’s $4.99 on Amazon. I do advise reading “The King’s Man” first for context as there are cameos from book one which you’ll love all the more if you’ve met them before. Political machinations, a heart melting romance, and plenty of action and intrigue all the way through. I can’t wait for the next installment in this series!
Many thanks to author Elizabeth Kingston for providing a copy of the book to review.
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